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Better economy needed to head off foreclosures

May 27, 2012
The Mining Journal

People miss mortgage payments for a variety of reasons. A few years ago, a substantial number of loan defaults were because some Americans bought houses more expensive than they could afford.

But mortgage foreclosures may be on the upswing now for an entirely different reason. Many homeowners who bought conservatively, taking out loans only for homes they were reasonably certain they could afford, are missing payments.

During a recent quarter, nearly 8.50 percent of homeowners missed at least one mortgage payment, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Analysts said high unemployment is to blame. Some homeowners can't make their payments because they aren't bringing home paychecks.

If foreclosures follow the upward trend experienced a few years ago, there will be calls for government intervention to help those who, through no fault of their own, can't make the payments. Such assistance certainly would be justified in many cases - unlike similar programs that were aimed at bailing out irresponsible home buyers.

But temporary assistance won't solve the problem. Only an economy putting more Americans back to work with good, permanent jobs - not the temporary make-work positions President Barack Obama has in mind - will do that.

Getting the economy back in gear, not spending more taxpayers' money on deadend programs, needs to be the immediate priority in Washington.



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